Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My first LJ entry, like, ever

Copied from my LiveJournal, 5/3/2005
My car has been out of commission for weeks, which was bad enough while I was unemployed but quickly became unbearable when I started my new job at Paul's company and was forced to start taking the bus. Paul, angel that he is, has been sharing his car. He drives it to work in the mornings then takes the bus home. I take the bus to work for my afternoon shift and have his car to drive home, thus avoiding the bus stops after dark in the tumbledown ghetto hellhole known as Highland Park.

Riding the bus has been an adventure unto itself. I seem to be a magnet for panhandlers, preachers, and anyone else off their meds. People accost me with pamphlets or produce jewelry for sale from their coat pockets. Last week a woman seated to my left soundly kicked a man whose duffel bag grazed her leg as he boarded. A shouting match ensued, culminating with her standing up and reaching ACROSS MY LAP to slap him. Needless to say, I'll be glad to put this bus-riding phase of my life behind me.

Now that I have the feeble beginnings of an income again, it was time to see about getting the hoopty roadworthy. So yesterday I had it towed to Wetmore's garage around the corner, locally renowned as the only garage ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Lofty beginnings aside, it's as shabby as any other garage around here and at least as crooked. They gave me an estimate of $650 to replace the distributor, so I said no thanks and had it towed home. They still charged me $37 for the privilege of parking there overnight, but since I talked them down from the $75 diagnostic fee they claimed I owed yesterday I'll consider that a small victory.

Tomorrow a mechanic friend of a friend is coming over to do the work for me and is only charging $20. Parts and all, I'll only be out $120. Well, that and the tow fee, another $45 I could ill afford. Climbing back out of poverty is expensive!

After waiting all morning for the tow truck, I was called in to work early and spent eleven hours doing tedious scanning work. The income is a godsend (thanks again, Paul) but the job is so very dull. I've never worked anywhere quite like this before. It's an antediluvian warren of wood-paneled offices and narrow hallways attached to a mammoth tinderbox of a warehouse. The office is surrounded by projects, abandoned buildings and burned-out houses, a neighborhood where pedestrians shuffle fugue-like into the streets with utter disregard for traffic. The workplace environment is one of general malaise, if not clinical depression. People communicate via threats and screaming, and since our department's extreme backlog of work has my manager's job in peril, there have been plenty of threats and much screaming in my presence. Even though none of it has been directed at me, I still cringe every time someone walks into our shop. So yeah, stressful. Still, nobody seems too concerned about getting anything done until the screaming commences, so if I put forth even a little effort I look like a superstar. It's a den of slack. I was on the job for a week before I finally convinced someone that maybe I needed to sign some documents for HR so I could be a real employee on paper and all. I'm trying to think of the last time I made so little money. Definitely not in the last decade.

In other news, I got a call tonight from a company where I applied for a tech support position. Maybe things are looking up.

Music: Dolly Parton-Halos and Horns
Mood: Tired